Ifenthaler, D., Cooper, M., Daniela, L., & Sahin, M. (2023). Social anxiety in digital learning environments: an international perspective and call to action. International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education, 20, 50. https://doi.org/10.1186/s41239-023-00419-0
The research focused on digital learning environments has identified various challenges for learners, such as technical problems, lack of community, motivation, self-regulation, self-efficacy, and social anxiety. Social anxiety is conceptualized as an emotional disorder that may impede achievement in higher education. The project reported here investigates N = 666 students’ social anxiety in digital learning environments at four higher education institutions located in Australia, Germany, Latvia, and Turkey. This range of contexts allowed the research to cover a wide variety of cultural and institutional idiosyncrasies. Findings revealed different levels of social anxiety in higher education digital learning environments across countries and their cultural contexts. In addition, gender plays a significant role in social anxiety for peer interactions with female students reporting higher social anxiety than male students. The findings suggest that it is worth tertiary educators pausing to consider social anxiety’s role in reducing interactions within digital learning environments. Additional research is required to establish the causes of social anxiety in digital learning environments and, as a result, to develop strategies to minimise its effect.